BANGALORE: Despite all odds, they have been caring for the visually-challenged, especially those belonging to the weaker sections of the society. This has been the mantra that has kept the ‘Divine Light Trust for the Blind’ going for the last six decades.
Entering the 61st year, this institution was established by Rev Father Abraham. He knew the challenges of being visually-impaired very intimately and hence, wanted to help them. Today, this fully-residential centre caters to the needs of 74 children, with some even living with speech and hearing disabilities.
Located in green, sylvan surroundings, off the busy Whitefield Main Road, the school boasts of several aesthetically-designed stone buildings. It gives the place an old-world aura besides keeping the classrooms cool.
There is a very interesting anecdote behind the place’s development. T J Thomas, chairman of Gina Engineering Company, was approached to plan and develop the campus by the Trust. He immediately agreed and the project was completed post-haste. The ‘association’ did not end here though. Now, Thomas serves as the director of the Trust, deeply involved in the day-to-day functioning of the school, out of passion.
The school takes in children as young as four years. “Early childhood stimulation can help the visually-challenged master the requisite skills like Braille easily. Parent counselling and guidance is provided initially. Mobility training and physiotherapy are the other services offered by the institution,” says Thomas.
After reaching an adequate academic level, the children are sent to the nearby government school. Specially-trained teachers are employed to provide quality education to the children. The student to staff ratio is just about 3:1.
There are several success stories within these walls. One such is that of Chandra, who secured first position in 12th class which had both visually-challenged and mainstream students.
Apart from academics, the students also receive instruction in music and artwork. Vocational training in tailoring and horticulture provides some measure of self sufficiency.
Ravindra, secretary of the Trust is acquainted with the case history of each child. He believes that for such children to lead a normal life there are two essential factors: One is the skill-set that he/she acquires on the campus and the other is the support of the parents.
“There are many who are unwilling to take back their children and still considering them as a burden. This puts the Trust in a dilemma as we cannot bear to see their wards left homeless. By not sending them away, the intake in each year gets affected. This year alone there are 82 children waiting to join the school,” says Ravindra.
The Trust, run exclusively on funds from volunteers and without any government support, can be reached through their website: www.dltb.org.